Taking the plunge: from the water's surface to the sea floor
Focus 1: Small- and meso-scale processes
To understand the sea as a whole, we must begin by analyzing its many individual processes one at a time. Only by understanding how each piece in this puzzle reacts to change can we reliably obtain an integrated picture of the sea's behaviour.
The research mission as laid out in Research Focus 1 (RF 1) is to identify, understand and quantify all of the physical, chemical and biological processes taking place from the sea surface to the sediments. At the surface, scientists identify which substances are exchanged between the sea and the atmosphere and how physical factors (e.g. sunlight, temperature, wind) influence the overall system, including the Baltic's communities of unicellular algae, bacteria and other microorganisms (zooplankton). Further down, at the middle of the water column, researchers closely examine the pronounced chemical gradients and the still largely unknown diversity and activity of microorganisms. At the deepest levels, the investigations are focused on the transport of substances between the seabed and seawater, on the activity of the organisms that inhabit these depths and on gathering information stored in the "climate archives" of the sediments in order to bring to light the environmental conditions of the past.